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Canadian Pro League To Start In Fall Of 2011

Published by on May 11, 2011

A fledgling Canadian Basketball League looks like it’s a go starting in the fall of this year.

The league will feature 3 Canadian teams who have pulled out of the Premier Basketball League(PBL), including the Quebec Kebs, the Halifax Rainmen and the Saint John Mill Rats.

A press conference is scheduled at 11am AST Thursday May 12th at the Halifax Metro Centre led by Rainmen President and CEO Andre Levingston, Mill Rats President and GM Ian McCarthy and Vincent Bernier, President of the Kebs. These three executives will announce which league they will join for the 2011/12 season, rumoured to be the newest Canadian attempt at professional basketball which is unnamed at this time.

In addition to the team from Quebec and the two teams out east, I’ve been told that teams in London, Barrie, Moncton, Fredericton and Oshawa are key cities of interest that may end up joining the fall season as well.

There could be more to follow as the organization will open up the process to other investors/franchises. Hamilton and Mississauga are two other cities that could jump into the picture once the league looks to expand.

In another twist, one of the franchise representatives said they may bring in a team from a global market to play in the league, which would certainly provide a boost from spectators from the diverse communities in this country.

The franchise fee will be in the six figure range and they have secured potential corporate partners that will sponsor the league as a whole as well possibly some of the individual teams.

Speaking to some of the parties involved I got a sense of real positivity and a belief that this is the perfect time for a Canadian basketball league to thrive.

The fact that the Raptors have been here for 15 years and the tremendous growth of the game in that time as well as all the recent success of the young talent in this country may serve to give the league the tools to survive. One participant said he’s really amped about it and has been waiting “20 years for this day to happen”.

Canada is the only nation that competes in basketball on the world stage that doesn’t have it’s own professional domestic league. Many attempts at a professional league have come before this and most have run up against the same problems; Lack of support in a hockey-mad country, a large geographical area to cover and lack of corporate sponsorship. It seems that some people with some deep pockets are prepared to put their money where their mouths are to try to make this work and it’s time for the fans of basketball in this country to step up as well and support.

No longer can they sit back and lament that basketball doesn’t get “respect”. Fans will have to get behind these franchises if they want the sport to continue to grow in this country and draw additional funds and resources from the corporate community. This league, if successful will also serve to give a professional playing opportunity for players who don’t make the NBA or other pro leagues worldwide, including Europe, South America and Asia.

The press conference/announcement can be seen live at www.sportstream.ca at 11am AST, 10am EST.

-Follow Drew Ebanks on Twitter @DrewEbanks

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